The Storage Networking Industry Association has proposed a new specification for connecting reference information with the location where it is stored.

The eXtensible Access Method, X-Access Method or XAM, is mostly intended for reference information such as medical images, documents and pdf files and will be technology independent.

Reference information makes up as much as 80 percent of the data on the network, says the Enterprise Strategy Group. It is data that changes infrequently once it is written, but which needs to be retained for regulatory compliance.

The X-Access Method initiative began October 2004 as a collaborative project between IBM and EMC, subsequently joined by HP, Hitachi Data Systems and Sun. In September 2005, the XAM presented the proposal to SNIA, which after reviewing it passed it to a SNIA working group developing standards for fixed content data.

The interface would reside between applications and storage systems and would co-ordinate metadata for long-term archiving, interoperability and automation.